This is a day where nearly every team that isn’t in the playoffs is sending out mass e-mails, thanking their fans and talking about their grand plans to build a winning ballclub. There’s usually nothing newsworthy in any of them, but I wasn’t the only one who found a portion of this e-mail from Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln and general manager Jack Zduriencik rather interesting.
Courtesy of Larry Stone of the Seattle Times, see if you can spot who is missing in part of Zduriencik’s message.
We’ve got a flock of top-rated prospects on their way to the big club.
These include position players Dustin Ackley, Justin Smoak, Carlos
Peguero, Nick Franklin, Kyle Seager, Johermyn Chavez, Greg Halman and
Matt Mangini, along with hard-throwing pitchers like Michael Pineda,
Blake Beavan, Dan Cortes, Mauricio Robles, Maikel Cleto and Anthony
Varvaro. Many of our best prospects are headed for winter ball and the
fall instructional league – they’re driven to improve and play at the
That’s right, no mention of Josh Lueke. For the uninitiated, the Mariners insisted they knew nothing about the pitcher’s criminal past when he was acquired in the Cliff Lee trade, though former pitching coach Rick Adair says otherwise.
I’m probably not out of line to say that any organization that trades a player like Cliff Lee would probably attempt to hype up their newest acquisitions by default, but it’s fairly obvious they are trying to avoid any and all controversy here. For what’s it’s worth, Stone is fairly certain that the omission is “not inadvertent,” and goes as far to wonder whether Lueke is actually in the organization’s long-term plans.
Granted, maybe Lueke doesn’t fit the definition of a “top prospect” by virtue of being a reliever, but he did post a 1.86 ERA and 94/14 K/BB ratio over 63 innings between the Rangers and Mariners organizations this season. Some have even mentioned him as a future closer. The 25-year-old right-hander pitched 12 games with Triple-A Tacoma to end the season, so they’ll have to make up their minds pretty soon.
Mike Berardino of the St. Paul Pioneer press is reporting that the Twins have placed pitchers Tommy Milone and Casey Fien on waivers. Should they pass through waivers, each player would have the right to reject a demotion to the minor leagues. Milone and Fien are only a part of what’s been ailing the 8-20 Twins.
Milone, 29, was solid out of the rotation for the Twins last season, but the same can’t be said of his start to the 2016 season. The lefty has a 5.79 ERA with a 19/7 K/BB ratio over four starts and one relief appearance. He was taken out of the Twins’ rotation following his final start in April.
Fien, 32, was also dependable for the Twins in previous years, but has had a rocky 2016 thus far. The right-hander has yielded 12 runs on 21 hits and three walks with 12 strikeouts in 13 2/3 innings.
Milone will be eligible for his third and final year of arbitration after the season after earning $4.5 million this season. Fien has two more years of arbitration eligibility left — his third and fourth — and is earning $2.275 million this year.
Free agent starter Kyle Lohse is throwing for interested teams at the University of California, Irvine, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports.
Lohse, 37, remains unsigned into baseball’s second month on the heels of last season’s 5.85 ERA and 108/43 K/BB ratio over 152 1/3 innings. Although Lohse was quite good in the four seasons prior, teams are understandably reluctant to bank on pitchers in their late-30’s.
The Orioles, Tigers, and Reds have had reported interest in Lohse in recent months.
Anthony Salamone of the Morning Call reports that Majestic Athletic employees plan to protest at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, PA on Friday night. The employees are protesting Majestic’s owner VF Corporation’s attempt to undercut wages and medical benefits. VF Corporation acquired Majestic in February 2007.
Coca-Cola Park is home to the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, the Phillies’ Triple-A affiliate. Majestic has manufacturing facilities in Easton, PA, which is less than a half-hour from Coca-Cola Park. The IronPigs, as well as all 30 Major League Baseball teams, wear uniforms manufactured by Majestic.
Corporations affiliated with Major League Baseball taking advantage of employees isn’t anything new. Last year, when protests over police violence disrupted the Orioles’ schedule, some employees with the Orioles and Aramark almost lost out on multiple days of pay.
There’s been a lot of rumbling that Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez will soon get the pink slip. His team is 7-20 entering Thursday’s action. Historically, front offices — particularly those of rebuilding/restructuring teams — respond to that by making coaching and/or managerial changes.
Per MLB.com’s Mark Bowman, bullpen coach Eddie Perez is likely to fill in as the Braves’ manager on an interim basis if and when Gonzalez is fired. Perez has been with the Braves as a coach since 2007. He played for the Braves in 10 out of his 11 seasons from 1995-2005. Perez wasn’t known for his bat, but was respected for the way he called games and handled the Braves’ then-elite pitching staff.
Bowman notes that Gonzalez isn’t expected to be fired over the weekend. If the team plays well, that could extend Gonzalez’s leash, so to speak.
First baseman Freddie Freeman issued a vote of confidence for his skipper, saying, “I think everything is getting magnified since we’re off to this start. I don’t know if it’s fair to put it all on [Gonzalez] because he’s not a player. We’re the 25 guys [who have to] go out there and play every day. We’re obviously not playing to our capabilities. To say that’s Fredi’s fault is unfair in my opinion.”